I was in Maine this week, in Freeport, for an appointment to see an old friend. We’d set up the meeting a couple of weeks ago. She was someone who I had worked with years ago, in the late 90s at LL Bean, and today is the Chief Human Resources Officer at the company. She is someone wise with a quick wit, ready to laugh or share a world of experience. I see her as a friend even though we hadn’t seen each other in over 15 years. No Facebook connections, no instagram feed.
The Admissions process at boarding schools has shifted considerably over the past decade with technological advancements and the advent of a common application. Students are applying to more schools, their resumes more full than ever, as they weigh options and try to find the school that will prepare them best for college and life beyond. For schools vying for the most talented, diverse, interesting group of students for the 2018-2019 school year, Revisit Days are critical to helping provide families a transparent window into who we are as a community.
A fall, a whoopie pie, and the art critic dog - lessons from a birthday.
I am used to birthdays announced in assemblies, used to shout outs in the dining commons, know that advisors often have a card or treat for students on the celebratory day. I love that about this school. I like seeing students swing through Maxwell Savage to pick up the cakes baked by the Andover Service Club. But what I am not used to is a couple of advisories cramming into my office to sing happy birthday to me. What I am not used to is Barb calling me down in the middle of lunch because Edna wants to say hello (which she did want to do), then rustling up more birthday song during the lunch rush. There’s an age, and let’s just say I have reached that age, when birthdays….well, you like to see them slide by without much fanfare. No notice is just fine. Really. Who needs reminding that the next decade has begun? Not me.
The two most important days of the year are upon us: Admissions Revisit Days on Friday March 30 and Friday April 6. Over the course of these two Revisit Days, we will welcome more than 120 accepted students and their families to campus to attend classes, engage with coaches, teachers, dorm parents, and advisors, listen to student panels, and (hopefully) walk away with a deep appreciation for who Proctor is as a school.
As Director of Enrollment Chris Bartlett stood in front of our start of Spring Term faculty meeting discussing the importance of upcoming Revisit Days, faculty nodded their heads at the need to showcase the best version of our authentic selves for visiting families on March 30 and April 6. As independent school educators, we know full well the balance every school seeks to manage during Revisit Days as our Admissions team works to enroll the most dynamic, fun, engaging, diverse student body for the 2018-2019 academic year, while not simply putting on an Admissions dog and pony show that fails to give prospective families a genuine window into our community.
All the non-weather related signs of spring are here. You can hear birds chirping above the soft dripping of sap into buckets hung on sugar maples around campus. Daylight has reclaimed the early evening hours it abandoned back in November. Spring athletic teams have dispersed around the country for spring training trips. Andover’s annual town meeting has come and gone with the usual small town issues that remind us of the importance of the greater community in which we live. It feels as though spring should be here, but Mother Nature has other plans this March, and, once again, a powerful lesson in patience is bestowed upon us as we hurry up and wait for spring to arrive.
Often, when difficult issues arise and injustice brushes our lives in the most personal of ways, we feel empowered to speak our minds. Finding the right medium to be heard is as much a challenge as finding the words to speak. Our responsibility as adults in this learning community called Proctor is to both model and encourage respectful dialogue that challenges the status quo while not compromising the integrity of our relationships with others within the community.
While the winter athletic season is not officially over (hockey and basketball teams await NEPSAC playoff bids, Nordic skiers compete at the NEPSAC Championship at the Proctor Ski Area Saturday, and USSA/FIS skiers continue to race until late March), we celebrated the collective work of coaches, students, and the athletic department during Friday's assembly. Hosting and traveling to over 300 different games/races/competitions, running daily practices, coordinating buses for fifteen different teams, and sharing scores and highlights from various programs requires considerable effort by Proctor's athletic department and coaching staff.